Police investigating pellet rifle that may have been used to shoot a SoCal deputy

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LOS ANGELES — Police investigating the apparent sniper shooting of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy are examining a pellet gun they found near the scene, authorities said Thursday.

A shooter fired at Deputy Angel Reinosa, 21, on Wednesday afternoon while Reinosa was walking to his car outside the sheriff’s station in Lancaster, located an hour’s drive north of Los Angeles, police said. Reinosa was taken to a hospital, treated for a minor, non-penetrating wound and released.

The projectile, believed to be shot from a four-story apartment building adjacent to the station, hit Reinosa and was deflected into his right shoulder by a bulletproof vest he was wearing, according to Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. The mayor referred to the shooter as a sniper.

The apartment complex is a government-subsidized facility that houses people with mental health problems, Parris said. Law enforcement officers searched apartments and conducted multiple interviews but did not identify a suspect in the shooting.

A pellet rifle was recovered from one of the apartments, the sheriff’s office said. The rifle and Reinosa’s uniform, which shows damage consistent with a gunshot in the top right shoulder, will be sent to a crime lab for forensics testing, according to officials.

Following the incident, a nearby school was put on lockdown and students were evacuated, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Though no arrests have been made, investigators believe this was an isolated incident intended to target a deputy and the area is safe for the community of about 170,000 residents, the sheriff’s office said Thursday.

The sheriff’s department is seeking public assistance and any information regarding the investigation.

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